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Music as Politics: Countering Anti-immigration Rhetoric Through Song

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 6:00pm

Prince Lucien Campbell Hall (PLC), Room 180
1415 Kincaid Street, Eugene, OR

 From the campaign for California’s Proposition 187 in 1994 to the current calls by U.S. President Donald Trump for a “big, beautiful wall," undocumented immigrants have been portrayed as a threat to U.S. security. Opponents of illegal immigration have stoked fears about the economy, crime, and other issues of health and safety. As scholar Paula Ioanide has explained, the anti-immigration movement is sustained by an “emotional economy” of nativist feeling and fear that makes rational debate ineffective. In my talk, I’ll suggest that contemporary Latinx musicians have been among the first to recognize the futility of rational dialogue, and I will show how some of them have attempted to counter dehumanizing political rhetoric by using songs to establish an empathetic connection to the lives of undocumented immigrants.

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